CHENNAI: He’s a retired bank manager, writer and poet. His magazine has published the first works of famous poets, lyricists and directors including Viveka, Lingusami and Na Muthukumar. Meet Ervadi S Radhakrishnan, editor of Kavithai Uravu (Relationship with poem), a monthly magazine that promotes budding Tamil poets and writers.
“In 1972, the magazine was started in a humble way by publishing and recognising poems of young writers,” recollects the recipient of the Kalaimamani award. “I was 43 when I received the award. Probably the youngest to receive it in the literature category,” he smiles. The magazine recently celebrated its 44th anniversary.
With a cushy job in a prominent bank in the city, Radhakrishnan decided to start the magazine as he felt that young poets didn’t get proper recognition. “Back then there were many poets who wanted to write. But, there wasn’t a platform for their works to get published. So, I started the magazine with the help of friends and a few sponsors,” shares the banker-cum-writer who has authored 97 books till date. “I will be releasing my 100th book by this year,” he reveals. Apart from this, he has also written scripts for over 500 radio dramas and short stories.
Talking about his 40 years as a bank manager, he says he often ended up going out of his way to help them. “There was a girl whose father worked as a sub-staff in the Corporation of Tiruchy. She was denied an education loan due to the nature of her father’s work. So, I requested my fellow workers to pitch in `500 each and contribute towards her college fees,” he says. “She is now working and still thanks me for the help. Small gestures like this these make life worth it,” he beams.
Juggling home, work and passion, he says that it all lies in one’s ability to manage time. “I had time for everything in my life. In fact I stole time!” quips the voracious reader. Writers like Vikraman and Jayakanthan are his inspirations and he believes in recognising talent only on the basis of merit. “I am very strict when it comes to awards. I believe that one can promote good talent only by merit and not by recommendations,” he opines.
Heading the only exclusive magazine for Tamil poems, he shares, “Subscribers and sales is always an issue for small time magazines. With a little push from the government, we will be able to promote the language even more.” But, what’s interesting is that the sales of Kavithai Uravu is more in foreign countries than in India. “People there enjoy and appreciate our literature. I wish we start appreciating it too,” he says.
For Radhakrishnan, literature is a source of satisfaction and not a time killer. “Tamil has given me a lot and has been a major part of my life. I want to promote the language, writers and literature.”
(To contact Radhakrishnan, visit: ervadiar.com)